AMM, seen here ca. 1960s, played its final concert last month in London.
“The British Improvising Group AMM has had an impact as mysterious as it is evident on the world of experimental music. Formed in the mid-’60s by what founding member Keith Rowe called a group of ‘skinny white European street kids’ influenced by African American free jazz, AMM grew out of series of workshops at London’s Royal College of Art, its early performances attended by the likes of Ornette Coleman, Paul McCartney, and Syd Barrett. Rowe, a musician and painter who’d played in Mike Westbrook’s big band, turned his guitar flat as Jackson Pollock had laid flat his canvas and also sneaked in unpredictable fragments from live radio broadcasts; Eddie Prévost fortified his drum kit to include a full array of percussion; saxophonist Lou Gare floated and howled. Deploying high-volume amplification and sprawling multi-instrumentalism, early AMM records like 1968’s The Crypt essentially invented modern-day noise music. Their sound was raw, enormous, and intensely collective. Along with former bassist Lawrence Sheaff, who quit music entirely after the band’s 1966 debut, AMMMusic, the other coremember was composer Cornelius Cardew, a more established figure who’d worked as Stockhausen’s assistant for several years. AMM members also participated in the Scratch Orchestra, a socio-musical experiment initiated by Cardew and others in 1969 and dedicated—at least initially—to a kind of anarchist communality. Soon, however, Scratch and AMM split along political lines, with Rowe and Cardew turning to Maoism and denouncing the avant-garde. …”
ARTFORUM: Nowhere Band
W – AMM
Seymour Wright remembers the AMM co-founder Lou Gare
YouTube: AMM – The Crypt: 12th June 1968 [1992 issue – The Complete Session], AMM Music 1966 [FULL ALBUM], Not Necessarily ‘English Music’ – AMM: Live At The Royal College Of Art (1966)